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EX DG Charles feared to be a threat: Officials Claim henchmen behind scams

Feb 4 (CT) The removal of SL Customs Director General (DG) Mrs. P.S.M. Charles on 30 Jan, 2019 from her post, after being appointed just 3-month ago, where a series of irregularities and dirty import deals, backed by henchmen of politicians, were uncovered by Ceylon Today. With her transfer to the Finance Ministry and a new DG appointed, all hell broke loose with Customs officials & several unions, which supported Charles, more..

Two including manager of financial company arrested with heroin

Feb 4 (AD) Two persons have been arrested at Rideepana area in Badulla on Kalmunai-Badulla road for transporting heroin. Suspects have been arrested while they were traveling on a motorcycle on the Kalmunai-Badulla road. The raid carried out, based on a tip-off received by the Deputy Police OIC Jagath Palihakkara, had led to the discovery of 9g 925mg of heroin on the suspects. It is estimated that the worth of the haul of heroin to be nearly Rs 450,000, stated the Police. more..

Customs unions warn of food shortage

Feb 4 (Island) The ongoing go-slow campaign by Customs workers may result in a food shortage besides causing a loss of billions of rupees to the state, trade unions say. Usually between 1,000 and 1,5000 containers were cleared by the Customs at the Colombo Port and the number had come down to 100-200 containers per day, unionists said. President of the Customs Officers’ Union Dinusha Hettiarachchi said that if the govt did not reinstate S. Charles in the post of Director General more..

Sri Lanka celebrates 71st Independence Day

Feb 4 (FT) All is in readiness for Sri Lanka to celebrate its 71st Independence Day with festivities organised countrywide to mark the occasion. The main event will be held at Galle Face and will be presided over by President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe. Maldivian President Ibrahim Solih will attend the ceremony as Guest of Honour. He arrived in Colombo on Sunday and will begin his State visit on Tuesday. more..

Who wants Provincial Council elections

Feb 4 (DM) The delay in holding PC elections is very much in the news these days, especially since Elections Commissioner Deshapriya threatened to quit his post if elections were not held before Nov 2019. It’s January now, why then does the EC want to wait until November to register his protest? A good question, but Commissioner has not made us, privy as to why he chose that particular month. We hope it is not a case of soothsayers recommending to him an auspicious date or month. more..

Cultural legacy brings ancient perspectives to new water challenges

Feb 4 (DM) In some ways, the reservoir near Mr. Kapuruhami’s farm looks more like an ungroomed football field. Stretching alongside rice paddies, the water’s surface is overlain with lotus pads and the scruff of tiny grass islands. Kapuruhami’s family has been farming in the Malwatu Oya river basin for generations. Each generation has relied on the water gifted by a unique irrigation system developed by ancient Sri Lankan kings. As Malwatu Oya meanders through northern dry zone of SL, more..

No Treasury money for 25,000 UN houses in the North

Feb 4 (ST) PM’s Office has notified a consortium of humanitarian agencies led by UN-Habitat and UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) that the Treasury cannot allocate money for their long-overdue initiative to build 25,000 brick houses for the war displaced in the North and East. Govt will, however, set aside around Rs 8bn in the forthcoming budget to fund 7,000 prefabricated concrete houses in the East. more..

Sri Lanka: Hope flickers as justice still proves elusive

Feb 4 (AI) Time is running out for the SL authorities to deliver on its 2015 commitments to truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence, Amnesty International warned in a new briefing. As the tenth anniversary of the end of SL’s internal conflict looms in May, progress on UNHRC Resolution 30/1 has proceeded at a glacial pace, the hopes of the victims of crimes under int'l law and human rights violations more..

Chandimal worried by Sri Lanka's batting as another pace barrage looms

Feb 4 (CI) Dinesh Chandimal, the Sri Lanka captain, has urged his players to work harder during the next leg of their three-country tour in South Africa. He could only name a single positive - slip fielding - in their performances against Australia after losing the second Test by 366 runs. The two Test defeats in Australia follow a 1-0 loss to New Zealand in a two-Test series and defeats in all four limited-overs matches on that tour. more..

Two double-tons in a first-class game - Angelo Perera achieves rare record

Feb 4 (CI) NCC captain Angelo Perera has achieved the incredibly rare feat of hitting two double-hundreds in a single first-class match. This has happened for only the second time in recorded history, the other way back in 1938, when Kent batsman Arthur Fagg, then 23, struck 244 and 202 not out against Essex, in Colchester. Perera hit 201 off 203 balls in the first innings of NCC's Super Eights fixture against SSC, more..

ATM fraud on the rise

Feb 4 (DN) With the number of fraud utilizing credit cards and debit cards at ATMs as well as Card-Not-Present fraud at ATMs on the rise, the Central Bank will make it compulsory for all banks to achieve EMV chip-technology compliance. CB Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy said that incidents of ATM fraud have taken place at banks that have not employed EMV chip technology. He said that the CB’s Payment and Settlement more..

Customs trade union action enters 6th day

Feb 4 (AD) The work-to-rule trade union action launched by the officers of SL Customs has entered its 6th day. According to the Treasurer of Customs Officers’ Association Geethanjana Madapatha, customs clearance activities have dropped by 90% due to the trade union action. Demanding the reinstatement of the transferred Director General of Customs, this trade union action of SL Customs commenced from 30th Jan. more..

Fresh Cabinet nod for Rs. 1.95 billion Palaly Airport revamp

Feb 4 (FT) The Cabinet has approved a proposal costing Rs. 1.95 billion, to develop Palaly Airport to operate regional commercial flights, the second on the project after it was first approved in October last year. The airport, located in Kankesanthurai, is set to be developed by the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) as per the proposal presented by PM Ranil Wickramasinghe as Minister of National Policies, Economic Affairs, more..

Speech delivered by Prez at the 71st Independence Day celebrations

Feb 4 (PMD) Most Venerable Mahasangha, Hindu, Islam and Christian Prelates, President of Maldives who is the Guest of Honor at the71st Independence Day celebrations, PM of Sri Lanka, Speaker of Parliament, Chief Justice, Your Excellencies representing foreign governments, Ministers and Members of Parliament, Governors, Chief of Armed Forces, Police Officers, Heads of Security Forces, Public Servant, more..

Australia beats Sri Lanka by 366 runs for 2-0 series win

Feb 4 (CI) A rampant Mitchell Starc devastated SL top order, sending the visitors hurtling to a fourth-day 366-run defeat at Canberra. SL failed to reach a total of 200 for the third time in four innings in Australia; and none of their batsmen were able to cross fifty. They have now been winless since late October, and have lost six of the last seven Tests they have played. For Starc, this Test has been an emphatic return to form, more..

Independence Day: Wishes from several heads of Govts

Feb 4 (DM) Several heads of govts including Queen Elizabeth II, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian President Ram Nath Kovind have extended their wishes on Sri Lanka’s Independence Day. In a message, Queen Elizabeth II has extended her best wishes for the good fortune and happiness of the people of Sri Lanka in the coming year. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the bilateral relations rest upon more..

Tragic tale of the Independence Day farce

Feb 5 (ST) So splendorous was the spectacle on that Friday 4th morn in the year 1948 when Lilliputia’s tribal chief rose from his makeshift bench to hoist the Flag of the Lilliputian Lion, that the attendant members of his clan could hardly contain their euphoria at the lowering of the alien standard and the raising of the old of their forefathers. And as Britain’s Union Jack came tumbling down from its high mast from which it had blown for 133 years to fly no more over the little Lilliputian isle that more..

Prez Sirisena, You are not fit to be our Prez

Feb 5 (CT) President Sirisena, In late October, you, took Sri Lanka by surprise. The news was terrifying and alarming. 71 years after Independence you singlehandedly threw Sri Lanka into the darkest hour of its history. You ignored and disregarded the supreme law of the country. You abruptly sacked the PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, calling him inept and corrupt and in a clandestine meeting you then appointed a new PM: Mahinda Rajapaksa, a former president who was your arch rival. more..

The long walk to Independence: Is Sri Lanka there yet?

Feb 5 (Roar) Thus began celebrations to mark Ceylon’s long-awaited independence from the British. At 7:30 the next morning, in a ceremony held at the Queen’s House, Sir Henry Monck-Mason Moore was appointed Ceylon’s first Governor-General to the ringing sounds of a gun salute. Later that day, the lion flag was hoisted at a ceremony at the Assembly Hall at Torrington Place, signalling Ceylon’s new status as free country more..

Even in a more beneficial form, the counter terror bill raises warning signals

Feb 5 (ST) Amidst the political turmoil that took place in late Oct 2018, it was wholly predictable that SL’s Counter-Terrorism Bill approved by the Cabinet just the month before, quietly slipped past public scrutiny. At a time when the country’s constitutional order itself had been shaken to its (albeit not entirely steady) foundations, the Bill was the least of anyone’s concerns. However now that we are back at the mundane business of every-day life with its quota of typical govt dysfunction, more..

The Black Day: Independence Day as a day of mourning

Feb 5 (CT) From pre British times various units of people had separate kingdoms for themselves preserving their individual languages, culture, heritage, fine arts and ways of life. The British for administrative reasons centralized all those units during their period and brought them under their authority. In time this centralisation gave way to repression of civil liberties and civil wars in many Asian and African Countries. Many such groups which were subject to repression and more..

If God deleted Sri Lanka, who would notice and why?

Feb 5 (FT) Professor Simon Anholt, who coined the term nation brand, once asked, “If the hand of God should accidentally slip on the celestial keyboard tomorrow and hit delete and Britain went, who would notice and why?” I would like to ask the same question of SL. After all, good leadership is largely about providing people with a meaningful narrative – a cohesive story that weaves together the significant characters and events of a community or more..

Ranjith Guneratne and policy formulation

Feb 5 (CT) I was sorry to hear last week of the death of Ranjith Guneratne, our Consul in Frankfurt. I had stayed with him in 2016 when I visited Mainz and Kaiserslautern Universities in connection with upgrading vocational training, and he and his wife were as hospitable as when I had visited Lebanon in 2012 on a private visit. He was Ambassador then, and they had me for meals at home as well as to the Independence Celebration at the Embassy, and had joined us when the Swiss Ambassador, more..

Need for a unique national identity

Feb 5 (CT) Sri Lanka celebrates 71st anniversary of independence with hope and aspirations towards the future, while rejoicing in the achievements and lamenting over the failures and disappointments. Although some analysts try to belittle the Independence on 4 Feb 1948 with the theory that it was handed over on a platter after India’s success, in their Independence struggle, on 15 Aug 1947, most of the impartial historians are of the view that the freedom from British colonial yoke more..

Sri Lanka 71st Independence day celebration

US military logistics hub: Duplicity and doublespeak at work

Feb 5 (Island) While SL politicians were distracted by a power struggle between the President and PM in December, the world’s superpower pulled off a heist in terms of extending its military footprint in Sri Lanka and, by extension, in the Indian Ocean. Between 24– 29 Jan, the US Navy’s 7th Fleet for a second time carried out what it called a temporary cargo transfer initiative in Sri Lanka using the BIA, to move supplies on to the US aircraft carrier USS John C Stennis, located off SL waters. more..

Edtorial: Pumpkin test for a knight

Feb 5 (Island) Prez Sirisena’s brother, Dudley, has threatened stern action against the micro finance companies, which he says, are a bunch of rip-off outfits sucking the rural people dry. Sabre-rattling seems to run in the Sirisena family! President, too, claims to have a sword, which he threatens to use against evildoers, from time to time. Now, we have two knights from Polonnaruwa, on a crusade to save us! Dudley says he is planning to launch a countrywide campaign to liberate villagers, more..

Foreign holdings of Rupee bonds slightly up

Feb 5 (EN) Rupee denominated bonds held by foreign investors rose slightly to 151.1 billion rupees by Jan 30 up from 150.1 billion rupees from a week earlier. In the previous week, foreign investors resumed bond purchases. Rupee bond holders started to sell down their holdings and exporters held dollar back when the credibility of a soft-peg was lost after the central bank stopped mopping up inflows in the first quarter of 2018 more..

Big budgets, massive crowds and unending drama: Schools Rugby is back!

Feb 5 (Island) If you follow the sport of Rugby in SL, you’re in for a treat starting from the end of this month as the all-important Under 19 Inter-Schools Rugby season 2019 is set to kick-off from Feb 25. Second only to National Cricket, Schools Rugby is one major crowd-puller in the country with most of the games attracting thousands of fans every week. All the teams in the top division have now entered the final phase in their pre-training with some schools already playing practice matches. more..

Change of Test captaincy: Final decision today

Feb 5 (CT) After another 2-0 bashing in Australia, the Selectors are set to take a final decision regarding the Test captaincy today. When inquiries were made, Selection Committee Chairman Asantha de Mel confirmed same. Vice captain Dimuth Karunarathne is the front runner to take over the Test captaincy ahead of the South Africa series which will begin on 12 Feb. The team is set to fly direct to South Africa from Australia. Ahead of the New Zealand tour in December last year, more..

Airlines crash land on ticket sales

Feb 5 (ST) A proposal to fix airline ticket sales in dollars, in the wake of the continued rupee fluctuation, has run into a storm of protests by industry stakeholders with SriLankan Airlines being blamed for supporting foreign carriers in this move. CAA Director General H.M.C. Nimalsiri said that about two weeks back the Board of Airline Representatives (BOA) met them with approvals obtained from the Central Bank to publish more..

Sri Lanka needs to find the middle ground

Feb 5 (GN) Despite its troubled past and population of consumers earning a modest income, the Sri Lankan economy remains on track. With its picturesque shores and abundance of trading opportunities, business organisations are bullish about the country’s future. “The country has just gone through a political crisis on top of the weakening rupee,” says Muhammed Riza, Chairman, Sri Lanka Business Council in Dubai and northern emirates. more..

Latiff hangs up his boots

Feb 5 (Island) Commandant of the STF, Senior DIG M.R. Latiff retires today after completing 40 years of service. Latiff, who joined the Police in 1979 as a Sub Inspector, joined the STF in 1984, as one of the initial members of the elite police commando unit. He assumed duties as the head of the STF on Aug 19, 2016, as the 11th Commandant of the STF. He was also the Commanding Officer, Director of Terrorism Investigation Division, Director of VIP Protection before being appointed as more..

Remains of Army personnel flown home

Feb 5 (DN) The coffins carrying the remains Major H.W.D. Jayawickrama and Sergeant S.S. Wijekumara who made the supreme sacrifice while serving the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Mali (MINUSUMA) were brought to Sri Lanka yesterday evening. State Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene, Army Commander Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake, UN Resident Coordinator Hanaa Singer and MINUSMA Force Commander more..

Local enterprises should rely on innovation and efficiency: Malwatte

Feb 5 (DN) Local enterprises should rely on innovation and efficiency, not on govt subsidies or import duty concessions all the time to thrive in a more competitive global marketplace, Chairperson of Sri Lanka Export Development Board, Indira Malwatte said. Malwatte noted that entrepreneurs should make it a priority not to depend on import duty concessions being given to them; instead they need to make efforts to continue their business activities outside the GSP plus concession. more..

Sri Lanka offered Chair of China-initiated Asia-Pacific business Chamber

Feb 5 (Island) A China-initiated, Asia-Pacific centred business Chamber will be set up in China in May and SL has been offered the Chair. The new entity would be known as Asia Pacific Trade Agreement-Chamber of Commerce and Industry (APTA-CCI) and would aim at promoting bilateral and multi- later trade, Dr. Rohitha Silva who was nominated president-designate of the APTA-CCI said. According to Silva, member countries of the APTA CCI Chamber would be Bangladesh, China, more..

Lakdhanavi objects awarding Kerawalapitiya power plant execution to China

Feb 5 (DM) Lakdhanavi Ltd, a local power company, objects to fresh moves by the Power and Energy Ministry to award the contract to a Chinese company for the execution of 300-megawatt LNG power plant in Kerawalapitiya despite it being a higher bidder, it is learnt. Cabinet paper is to be presented today. Earlier, the company objected to the same decision taken by the previous Cabinet that was in operation prior to the political more..

The Body Shop opens new store at Colombo City Centre

Feb 5 (Island) This month the world’s most well-known ethical skincare brand joined other exclusive international labels at the Colombo City Centre, with the opening of a new store on its ground floor. Guests celebrated at the launch event on Sunday, 27 January. The Body Shop needs little introduction. Anita Roddick founded the skincare and beauty company in 1976 with the firm belief that businesses could enrich, not exploit, the planet and its people. The Body Shop brand ethos more..

Wiggy flays Tigers

Feb 5 (Island) Former Chief Minister of the Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran, yesterday, condemned the LTTE for killing Tamils, including over 60 leaders of the community. Addressing the media after attending the Central Committee meeting of the EPRLF in Jaffna, Wigneswaran said that among those killed by the LTTE were the leader of the TELO Sri Sabaratnam and founder/leader of the PLOTE, Uma Maheswaran. "All these organizations fought for the Tamil people. more..

Prez raps politicians for country’s paralysis

Feb 5 (FT) President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday during his Independence Day address made a string of political and economic observations focusing on development, fighting corruption, holding provincial council elections and criticised actions during the recent Constitutional crisis and moves by the UNP to establish a National Govt. Delivering his address to the nation to mark the 71st Independence Day, Sirisena took on more..